Archive for April, 2007


May Schedule Note

There will be no scheduled lessons May 1-13.  Lessons resume a normal schedule on Monday, May 14.  Invoices for April’s lessons will go out on May 7th. 

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The care and feeding of your Yamaha. Or Baldwin, or Steinway, etc.

A few of you have called recently with questions about the care and maintenance of your pianos.  As with a car, an instument that is serviced (tuned) regularly should give you years of enjoyment.  Common sense tells us that pianos should not be used as toys to pound upon, or as furniture to store items.  Children should not put their full weight on the pedals.  Never put liquids on or near a keyboard instrument.  Be cautious about placing items like coins or paper clips near the keys, too, since these can cause damage.  Repairs are costly.  Do not place plants on your piano. 

Prior to 1946, ivory was used for white keys of pianos.  I used to tell this joke at lessons–an old Victor Borge joke–”Why are piano keys kind of yellow?  Because the elephant forgot to brush his tusks.”  If you have an older piano, you may have ivory keys, but most of the pianos around except old uprights have plastic keys.  Both may be cleaned with a soft damp cloth and mild soap.  Be careful not to drip water or have your cloth too saturated.  Do not use spray cleaners or oils. 

You may have seen me use disinfectant cloths on the piano keys here at my studio.  I use these to help prevent the spreading of colds and illnesses when a student has come to lessons with a cold.  I do not use them everyday.

Many of you have noticed that in the wintertime I have a humidifier going in the music room.  I try to keep the humidity relatively stable year-round.  This helps to keep the pianos in tune.  Pitch normally rises slightly when humidity rises, and drops with lower humidity in the wintertime.  I try to keep my room at around 45% humidity.  Some of you may have units placed in your pianos at home, and these are good alternatives to whole-house humidification and dehumidification.

All pianos should be tuned a minimum of once a year by a reputable tuner.  I recommend a man named Ilan Hahn.  I would be happy to pass his number to you at lessons if you would like to also use him.  If your piano has not been tuned for a long time, it may take several tunings to bring it up to the normal range.  An ideal time to tune a piano is about a month or so after heating or cooling seasons start.  I have my pianos tuned in November, and before I record if necessary. 

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Lessons are cancelled today, April 16, because of flooding.  Stay safe.

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